Japan's monthly trade deficit hits record

Japan posted a record monthly trade deficit in August, as surging crude oil prices and a weaker yen increased the cost of imports.

The Finance Ministry said last month's deficit reached 2.82 trillion yen, or roughly 20 billion dollars.

That is the most since comparable data became available in 1979. Japan's trade balance has remained in negative territory for 13 months in a row.

Imports surged by almost 50 percent in yen terms from the same month a year earlier to a record 76 billion dollars.

That was mainly because imports of crude oil almost doubled and those of liquefied natural gas jumped 2.4 times by value.

Exports increased 22 percent to 56.3 billion dollars thanks to higher shipments of automobiles, diesel and semiconductor production equipment. But that growth was outpaced by surging imports.

Prices of natural resource remain high, while grain and other food items are increasingly expensive following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.